The Momo Tribe
Out of all the Korean dramas I’ve watched, Arthdal Chronicles has been the one that’s been the most challenging to write about. Not only because of the length of episodes or interwoven character dramas, but because depending on what region you live in, Arthdal Chronicles is currently doing the rounds with a completely different title. In its native tongue, Arthdal arrives at it’s third part (essentially season 3) whereas the rest of the world have it listed on Netflix as one continuous season. It’s confusing, to say the least, and especially so given I’ve already written up the full season review to Parts 1 and 2 under the pretense that the streaming giants would announce these final 6 episodes as a separate season. Alas, that is not the case.
After a 3 minute recap, Arthdal Chronicles returns right at the heart of the drama, picking up where it left off from before at the end of the last season. Moo-Gwang and the other Daekan soldiers deliberate over the prophecy depicting the end of his life under the crescent moon after Tanya gives an impassioned speech. Given she’s now ascended to the role of Asa Sin, Taealha takes the opportunity to ask her where Aruman is, to which she replies he’s been here all along. Defying the Asa tribe, she tells them it’s Tagon. As she heads outside and tries to adjust to everyone now cheering her, Tagon lifts her hand in triumph to the sky.
Meanwhile in Doldambul, Eunseom is lifted out of the underground slaver pit. Syoreujakin tells the guards to quickly dispose of the bodies but unfortunately their plan is thwarted by an impromptu inspection. Sensing his chance to strike, Eunseom and the others burst free of their graves and immediately overpower the guards. They free the other slaves and they all work together to buy Eunseom precious tine to escape and make haste away from the camp.
With Tagon and Tanya now settled in their roles, Tanya proposes a Gohamsani. In doing so, Asa Ron senses a coo to overthrow the Great Shrine in his absence, however he plays along for now as Tanya announces that the White Peak Mountain Hearts will be joining them in the Great Shrine. Afterward, Tanya asks Tagon to hold up his side of the bargain and release all the Wahan currently being held as slaves. It’s here she runs into Mubaek whom she winds up seeing separately herself alone after he spots Saya in the room.
Meanwhile in the Hasi Mountains, Eunseom arrives and meets up with the fragments of the Wahan tribe. He tells them he needs to go back and save Dal-Sae but at the camp, Ipsaeng, still wrapped up, breaks free and escapes, immediately going after the jewels hanging in the slaver pit.
Eunseom returns to Doldambul and sees first-hand Syoreujakin tortured and forced to recite humiliating words. Hiding in the shadows, this prompts Eunseom to have flashbacks to earlier episodes where the guards forced him to do the same thing. As they leave, Eunseom breaks him and Dal-Sae free and they head off into the mountains, where Syoreujagin speaks to him about power and how he should never have saved him. While the guards back at Doldambul gather their forces and prepare to storm the Hasi Mountains for Eunseom, our protagonist decides to go and see the Momo Tribe. As they head deeper into the freezing, unforgiving cold, they discuss the tribe itself while trying not to fall asleep for fear of never waking up again.
In private, Tanya reveals to Mubaek just who Saya is. With this information under his belt, he decides to stay quiet and bide his time before dropping this bombshell on the town and causing chaos to ensue in the near future. However, with the Wahan tribe now free and no longer slaves, they reconvene with Tanya in the throne room and exchange hugs and greetings. Pulling Father Yeol-Son aside, Tanya tells him that Eunseom is still alive.
Up north, Eunseom makes it to the quaint, frosty village of Jubinol where fragments of the Momo tribe are hiding out. They’re held up at knife-point by Xabara and the others before revealing Sateunik has died. As they hold up for the night, members of Xabara’s own tribe turn against her and silently begin slitting throats, leaving them in a heap on the group in their search for Eunseom.
Hunted, Xabara finds herself fleeing through the woods away from the guards before being surrounded. Cursing them for trying to harm her son, Xabara gently places her baby on the ground before fighting off the men. Eunseom snatches up the child at the last second and charges back to the village with Xabara, eventually going their separate ways after fighting off guards as they go. As it happens, Xabara is actually the leader of the Momo Tribe and as the cavalry arrives, the Daekan warriors inside the village are completely surrounded. They try to rationale with the tribe but hastily retreat after being told to leave. The episode then ends with the tribe vowing to find Eunseom and repay his kindness.
As far as season openers go, Arthdal Chronicles gets back into its groove relatively quickly and retains the best elements of the previous episodes. I love the world building in this series and seeing more of the snowy North and the tribes is certainly worth waiting for. In terms of momentum though, the 16 episode hiatus while Hotel Del Luna has been on has really taken the wind out of the show’s sails. Toward the end of this one, Arthdal definitely begins to get back into its groove, and there’s plenty of exciting action here, but the decision to split this one across three parts feels a little questionable.
While its unlikely Arthdal Chronicles will ascend to the same lofty heights of other Korean dramas this year, namely Hotel Del Luna and The Crowned Clown, there’s enough here to make for an enjoyable show nonetheless. This episode does well to set the scene for the conflict to come, but with only 5 episodes left, only time will tell quite what’s likely to happen next here.